- Steele Coveted
feedback to: lindsay.mcneill @ yahoo.com (without the extra spaces)
story takes place after the series. Remington and Laura recently
got married for the second time, for real this time (covered
in a story that I have written but has not been beta read.) Hope
everyone enjoys it. Thanks to Greyowlette for beta reading.
Steele woke up in a cold and lonely bed. She glanced over to
the window to see weather that matched her mood. The rain that
fell all night long continued to beat against the windows, and
the gray light that broke through the clouds was decidedly ominous.
had gone to bed with her; that was not the problem, but he had
been distant since late afternoon. She had tried to talk to him
several times, but each time she had, he’d made flippant
remarks and then excused himself from the room.
knew she would not see him in the morning. Yet it had taken her
many more moments than necessary to open her eyes. She lay there
willing him to be looking at her from some corner of the room
or from the doorway. When she opened her eyes, all she saw was
drops of rain made different muted sounds as they fell, first
hitting the leaves, then the soft ground and finally joining
their fellow travelers in a stream that led to the nearby pond.
Remington stood on a small footbridge staring into the woods.
The water that washed down his face hid his tears.
flood of emotions that were tearing through his heart were pulling
at him from every possible direction. He felt guilty for not
explaining things clearly enough to Laura. He felt weak for being
so easily beaten down, but most of all, he felt lonely.
deserved better; he knew that. She deserved, as she would say,
“ to be let in on the joke.” But as he was not even
sure of his own thoughts, he felt he had nothing to offer her.
That too, made him feel guilty. He knew she would only offer
help, that she would somehow make things better.
this? He wanted to fight this on his own; he wanted to be able
to fight his own battle for once, even if it was against himself.
envelope had left him feeling blank and confused. The contents
that it had held were something he had waited for his whole life,
that he had sought out, that he had longed for. So why did he
feel so empty? Why had he withdrawn from the only person that
the first time since the Bloustein case, when he had almost lost
Laura, he felt desolate. He buried his head in his hands and
pattered around the kitchen searching for utensils hidden by
his organizational scheme. She had decided to make herself pancakes.
There was no sense in being both hungry and depressed.
The hunger she could control.
thought about Remington. She could tell that he was trying, trying
to tell her what he felt, what he was going through. But each
time he opened his mouth, his voice cracked with hidden emotion,
and he replaced the truth with some trivial remark.
hurt her to see him in pain, but she did not want to force him
to talk. She knew that when he was ready, he would come to her.
had felt odd sleeping in the same bed, yet so distant from him.
She stayed up most of the night waiting for him to cry, waiting
for him to whisper some clue that would give away his heartache.
But all she had heard through the night was the dull roar of
the rain hitting their bedroom skylight.
sat down lost in her thoughts, eating her soggy pancakes and
wishing she was not alone.
a long while, Remington turned and headed back toward the car.
He was soaked from head to toe, and rain dripped off the end
of his nose. His shoes sloshed with each step, and he shoved
his hands deeply into his pockets.
showers, eh?” he said, managing a weak smile as he cast
his eyes heavenward.
rain was beginning to dissipate, and a rainbow appeared in the
field before him. He thought of Laura.
right; she’s probably the answer,” he said, looking
at the sky once more. Even though he was quite sure he was alone,
he still looked around to make sure no one had seen his one-sided
was no reason to stay any longer. He had a three-hour drive ahead
and plenty of time to think.
sat in silence for a moment after closing the car door. His chest
ached from the tears he’d held back all night long. He
had wanted to reach over, take her in his arms and hold her,
or make love to her -- anything. But he had felt paralyzed. So
instead he had lain in bed, watching the shadows created as streams
of water ran down their bedroom windows.
started the car and pulled out onto the highway.
few miles down the road, he came to a gas station. He pulled
off and decided to call Laura.
she answered, her voice was noticeably weak.
are you? Are you ok?” Laura asked worriedly.
I’m safe. Laura?”
sorry. I love you.”
love you too; please come home.”
on my way.”
sound of her voice was even more comforting than he thought possible.
Why had he not rolled over in the night and bared his soul to
her? Why had he not let his tears fall earlier when she was there
to wipe them away? How was he going to make it up to her? How
was he going to make her understand when he did not even understand
slew of questions clouded his mind as he drove home.
was surprised that she was not angry, not in the least. Her heart
ached for him. She knew that what he was not telling her had
nothing to do with his feelings for her. She knew he loved her.
She just wanted to make him feel better. She had grown dependent
upon his charismatic smile and was having serious withdrawal
decided to surprise him. She ran into the bathroom and swept
her hair up into a bun, fastening her bangs with a few bobby
pins. Remington preferred her hair the way it was when they met,
and after a few weeks, she’d agreed. Unfortunately, she
was in a battle with the bangs; it had taken her quite some time
to figure out how to deal with their awkward length.
making her face look presentable and brushing her teeth, she
quickly moved to the closet. She threw on an acceptable outfit
and scooted out the front door and into the elevator.
wanted to buy him a gift, something that they could enjoy together.
And she knew just where to go.
mood began to lighten as he covered the miles back to L.A. He
watched the houses fly by as he drove, thinking about the people
inside. Each held a story of joy or tragedy. Somehow, he felt
renewed when he thought of the larger backdrop -- the drama of
moment, somewhere, a man took his last breath. Yet each day newborn
babies took into their lungs the breath of life. It was the way
of the world. And just like the great poetic works of Shakespeare
and the melodic tunes of Rachmaninoff, it was the joy mixed with
the pain that made the whole work truly beautiful.
walked into the electronics store hunting for the aisle that
held the collection of VHS tapes. When they were little, Frances
and she would dance around in their living room together, singing
along with various musicals. It was the closest the two had ever
Laura’s mind had been growing more like Remington’s,
she found herself constantly comparing life to the cinema. And
recently she had remembered one of her favorites:
Music Man, Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, Warner Bros., 1962.
A con man comes to a Midwestern town with a scam using a boys’
marching band program, but things don't go according to plan.
He meets an intelligent young woman, falls in love with her,
and chooses to stay and risk imprisonment rather than leave her.
was quite like their story. Laura tucked the box under her arm
and happily made her way to the checkout line. She wanted to
see him smile, and she was almost sure that this, paired with
a little romantic persuasion, would do the trick.
sun came through the windows of the store, and just as the sun
had risen, so had her spirits. She thought of her husband driving
home and happiness washed over her face. These hours away from
him had felt like an eternity. She wanted to put her arms around
him, comfort him, and help him through whatever he was facing.
making her purchase, she drove quickly to her favorite boutique
to buy a new dress. With the recent and unexpected case, they
had not even been on a date since their wedding. She needed something
perfect, something different from anything she had worn before.
did not take her long to find the right dress. She liked how
the satin felt cold and smooth against her skin. She presumed
he would like the way it felt too. It was strapless and black
and fell to about mid-calf with a large royal blue sash at the
waist that tied elegantly in the back. It fit her small frame
you look divine!” said the saleslady.
smiled. “Yes, it is lovely, but a little expensive,”
she said as she looked at the tag.
can’t put a price on perfection,” the woman answered,
admiring Laura in the mirror.
grinned, bearing her teeth, excited about the frivolity. “You
are right; it’s important.”
out?” the woman asked.
in,” Laura answered, smiling once more.
arrived home and figured she had about an hour before he would
arrive. She ordered Chinese takeout to be delivered and made
her way to the shower.
had a bath gel that smelled sweet, like honeysuckle. He loved
it. He had told her several times that it enhanced her natural
smell and therefore drove him wild.
hummed as she scrubbed her scalp and let the warm water beat
down on her closed and weary eyes.
she felt an arm come around her from behind and familiar fingers
ran up her wet skin. She let out a little shriek and turned to
face him. Somehow he had slipped into the shower unnoticed and
fully clothed. He smiled at her and held up the bottle of bath
to get lucky, are we?” he said before kissing her.
kissed him passionately and looked into his bloodshot eyes.
she said frowning. “You look terrible.” She ran her
fingers across his unshaven face, and he gave her a half-hearted
really am sorry, Laura; I shouldn’t keep things from you.”
alright,” Laura said, seeing the pain that was written
on his face. “We all deal with things in our own way. I
know you well enough. I knew you would come to me when you were
ready.” She gave another comforting caress to his cheek,
and he kissed her deeply.
that?” Remington asked when a faint buzzing sound interrupted
had to come back to reality before she could answer.
dinner, Mr. Steele. I ordered takeout.” She smiled and
he grinned back.
you are a little underdressed to get the door, I will retrieve
dinner,” he said.
you’re all wet!” Laura shouted as he ran out of the
carpet won’t mind,” Remington said, ignoring his
own obsessive compulsive tendencies.
delivery boy was surprised to see a dripping, soapy man in a
shirt and tie answer the door.
gone awry,” Remington said, signing the receipt.
whatever, Mister. What you do on your own time is your business,”
the young man said, hurrying back into the elevator.
had locked the door while Remington retrieved the food.
what is going on!?” Remington shouted as he hit the door.
don’t want to spoil my surprise do you?” Laura asked.
a surprise,” she reiterated.
smiles were growing successively larger. He sat down and leaned
back on one of the wooden dining room chairs, his sorrowful thoughts
being replaced with thoughts of his naked wife.
Laura finally emerged, Remington’s jaw nearly dropped to
the floor. “I never thought anyone could look so good in
clothes,” he said smiling.
am glad you like it, but don’t touch me,” she said
as he stepped towards her. “You’re wet, and this
he said, feigning a shudder. “Bad combination: don’t
touch and you.”
and change,” she said grinning at him. “Oh, not to
bring things down, but I thought we could talk later; I don’t
want to go to bed again without knowing what’s on your
long as you make love to me first, I will tell you anything,”
Remington said, disappearing into the bedroom.
woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do,”
Laura thought to herself.
felt good to shed his wet clothes and feel something dry and
warm against his skin. It felt good to be home. The idea of having
a home, a place that would always be his was still somewhat foreign
to him, but he was certain that he would always have a home now.
looked into the mirror at his bloodshot eyes, evaluating each
one individually. Laura was right; he looked awful. The stubble
that had appeared on his face after only one day of not shaving
was almost astonishing to him; it felt rough against his hand.
thought back to the first time that he had shaved. Daniel stood
behind him explaining the perfect technique. He remembered what
it felt like and how gratifying it was to turn into a young man.
He had grown tall very young, but it had taken a while for his
sinewy form to take shape. He remembered when women began to
notice him. It was about the same time that he developed his
disarming grin, and, boy, did he ever take advantage of the attention.
had also taught him to develop his “take the world by storm”
attitude. When he had stared into that mirror, removing for the
first time the signs of manhood, he never would have guessed
that he would find himself married and settled. He never even
thought he would know what it meant to be home.
glanced over at the freshly painted walls. Laura had just painted
them red. They matched his eyes. He smiled. She had taken to
decorating with such gusto, and he approved of all her choices.
ran his fingers through his hair, trying to brush away the most
obvious bumps. He didn’t like looking so disheveled, but
it was more important to join his wife than to look perfect.
He made his way back out to the dining room.
felt relieved when he entered. His mood had improved dramatically,
but he was still not her Mr. Steele. He kissed her on the cheek,
and the stubble on his face ground against her skin. She reached
up and pulled him close, embracing him. He was cold. Something
in her did not want to let go. She felt his tense shoulders relax
as she ran her fingers lovingly over his back.
breathed deeply, lowering his head to the curve of her neck and
then exhaled, his breath creating condensation on her skin. That
exhaled breath said more of what he was feeling than he had offered
her in words, and she wrapped her arms more tightly around him.
Laura, Laura,” left his lips like a mantra, as he buried
his head even deeper in the crook of her neck and kissed it with
is getting cold,” Laura said finally. She pulled his head
back, looked lovingly into his eyes and kissed him on the lips,
letting her face brush lightly against his affectionately.
shu pork,” Remington said, smiling and taking one of the
thin pancakes in his hand.
egg rolls, and almond chow mein, and fried rice with chicken,”
Laura said, returning the smile.
love, you know what I like,” he said running his fingers
over her hand.
rest of the meal was spent in silence. Neither had eaten all
day, and appetite took over.
noticed from time to time the looks of longing and admiration
that frequently showed on his face as he surveyed as much of
her as he could see. It was flattering that despite his inner
turmoil, he still desired her. The blue of his eyes was still
bright despite the red around them.
they finished, Remington slid gracefully out of his chair and
took Laura’s hand, raising her into his arms. He then began
to sway back and forth, taking her with him. They danced in silence
as the lights of the city cast shadows onto the wall.
pulled her so that she was flush against him, and he rested his
cheek on her temple. The sweet smell of her perfume entered his
nose and he inhaled deeply. Silence seemed to be conveying their
inner thoughts well enough.
way he kept pressure at the small of her back said “I need
you.” The way she moved her head and let her lips and nose
brush against his skin said “I’m here for you.”
And the way they danced together, predicting each movement the
other would make, said “I love you.”
was happy to be holding her in his arms. Only hours before he
had felt so lost, so alone. Now here he was again, holding home
in his arms, holding the only antidote to his ailing heart, holding
soon led her to the bedroom where they joined in another dance
that held healing powers. He took every second to appreciate
the soft feel of her skin, the shape of her lips, and the contours
of her delicate form. She was the idol of his tender ritual.
lay in bed for many moments. He had never made love to her quite
like that before. He had never let her see quite how much he
needed her. The intense vulnerability he had displayed testified
to how far they had come. He wasn’t protecting himself
anymore; he was an open book.
don’t know what to offer you for your thoughts, but I would
be grateful if you would tell me what happened,” Laura
verbal contracts are binding, I suppose,” he said, smiling.
are when you have signed a marriage certificate,” she said,
right,” he said, hesitating.
saw twinges of pain show up again on his face. He leaned over
and pulled a manila envelope from his night stand and then leaned
against the headboard, inviting Laura to nestle against him.
came yesterday while you were out finishing the contract with
the Gilbert Corp.” Laura looked at Daniel’s recognizable
script, and things were immediately more clear for her.
she said, noticing there was no last name on the address . She
looked up at him, offering comfort.
then pulled out the short note inside. Mist filled his eyes as
he handed it
- My dear boy,
- I always enjoyed our special
time together. I am sorry that I cannot be there now. I hope
the other items which I have enclosed will help you somehow.
I always wanted things to be different between us. I hope you
- Your loving father,
- Daniel Chalmers
could feel Remington’s eyes on her as she read it. “He
loved you; you know that now if you didn’t before,”
she said, touching his cheek.
looked at the wall for a moment and then began to speak.
I met Daniel, I had nothing; I trusted no one. He taught me how
to live, how to get what I want, and how to be a man. I began
to trust him, never understanding why he was in my life, why
he was giving his time to me, or why he was willing to make sacrifices
for me. I did not believe anyone so much as enjoyed my company,
and here this man came out of the blue, picked me up out of the
street, and turned a ruffian into an artist.”
took his hand in hers.
we parted, I mean, when I was old enough to go my own way, we
made a promise. We would always spend one particular day together
a year. No matter where we were, what we were doing, April 17th
was our day. To me it had no significance, but for some reason,
the wine flowed freely on that day.